Georgia Tech police shooting: Student wielding pocket knife shot and killed.

Student LGBTQ Leader Wielding Pocketknife Shot and Killed by Police on Georgia Tech Campus

Student LGBTQ Leader Wielding Pocketknife Shot and Killed by Police on Georgia Tech Campus

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Sept. 18 2017 11:50 AM

Student LGBTQ Leader Wielding Pocketknife Shot and Killed by Police on Georgia Tech Campus

schultz
Scout Schultz at a march in Atlanta on March 3.

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Georgia Bureau of Investigation officials are investigating the fatal shooting of a Georgia Tech student by campus police outside a dorm late Saturday night.

Campus police shot and killed Scout Schultz, a 21-year-old computer engineering student and the president of the campus’ Pride Alliance, an LGBTQ group, after they responded to a 911 call about a person with a knife and a gun, according to reports. Schultz did not have a gun in video of the incident, but police said Schultz had a knife and refused to put it down.

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In the video, officers can be heard telling Schultz, who identified as nonbinary and used they/them pronouns, to drop the knife. Instead, Schultz walks slowly toward the officers and can be heard shouting, “shoot me.” More officers tell Schultz to stop, but after Schultz pauses and then takes a few steps toward the officers, one of the officers shoots. Schultz was taken to a hospital in downtown Atlanta, where they died Sunday.

The attorney for Schultz’s family said that the campus police overreacted and asked why the situation couldn’t have been handled by nonlethal measures. A statement on the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s website announced that the agency was investigating the shooting at the request of the campus police department. “Officers provided multiple verbal commands and attempted to speak with Shultz [sic] who was not cooperative and would not comply with the officers’ commands,” the agency said in the statement. “Shultz continued to advance on the officers with the knife.”

WSB-TV reported that the knife looked like a “metal, flip-open multitool knife that would likely include a small blade.”

The attorney for the family told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the student never rushed the officers and that the blade of the knife was not extended. “Why didn’t they use some nonlethal force, like pepper spray or Tasers?” Schultz’s mother said to the newspaper. A Georgia Tech spokesperson told the paper that the campus police do not carry Tasers.

The attorney also said he wanted to know if the officers involved were trained to deal with mentally impaired people. Schultz’s mother told reporters that Schultz had been diagnosed with depression at a young age. She also said her child had attempted suicide two years ago.

The family’s attorney told the newspaper he thought Schultz “was having a mental breakdown and didn’t know what to do.” He said he didn’t believe it was a suicide attempt.

Molly Olmstead is a Slate assistant social media editor.